Solar Inquiry Heat Maps

Cool,Environment by on September 18, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Cooler Planet put together a gorgeous time-phased heat map of their solar energy inquiries over time. Its fun to watch the growth of solar energy inquires over time.

solar inquiry heat map

While the map certainly reflects their success as a business, I think it also demonstrates the regional growth in interest in solar power. I’ll admit to my surprise at the number of inquiries that originate in the Boston area - people are definitely making social statements more than they are making practical decisions. Compare the map above to the solar power potential map below:

solar power potential

Interesting, Cool & Useful – May 08

Cool,Geolocation by on May 4, 2008 at 1:39 pm

A random assemblage of notable stuff I’ve run across online:

Interesting:

  • Yahoo & geographic search queries: Yahoo has released some research that associates search terms with the geographic location of searchers. We used (and I presume still use) similar techniques at Quova. I find the secondary information that can be derived from some data sets fascinating.
  • Gen Lord on Slashdot about Air Force Cyber Command. Air Force Cyber Command is still finding its way, but it is rare that senior officers engage with the online community.
  • Cat ownership improves heart health (via Slashdot). A 30% reduction in heart attack risk. No effect was found for dogs, but the authors attribute that to data scarcity in their study. I wonder what effect kids have.

Cool:

Useful:

  • Free AT&T Wifi (thanks Rahul): AT&T gives iPhone users free wifi at its hotspots. However, their authentication isn’t all that great. Modify your user agent and AT&T thinks you are an iPhone.
  • SPF wizard. Sender Policy Framework wizard to create SPF records for your email (so it doesn’t end up in spam boxes). If you do any automated mailing, the SPF records are a must.

Interesting Cool & Useful – Jan 08

Cool by on January 15, 2008 at 11:47 pm

Its been a little while since I put one of these posts out.

Interesting:

  • Higher wine prices boost drinking pleasure. A fascinating research study that demonstrates areas of the brain that register pleasure are more active when we’re told the wine is expensive. Fascinating implications for marketers.
  • Become your own Registrar. Need to register a lot of domain names and just don’t trust GoDaddy. For $3K a month, MyRebel will operate the technical infrastructure of your very own registrar for you.
  • Deriving Neighborhood data. An interesting post on OpenList’s approach to understanding neighborhoods. This aligns with my thoughts on the semantic web - most semantic meaning will be derived by ‘intelligent agents’, not defined by content owners. Thanks (Rahul and Niki).
  • Live energy consumption Data. Chris pointed me to this article about a pilot project that allows consumers to monitor their energy consumption real-time.

Cool:

  • 5 very cool research facilities (plus 5 More). Some of these are familiar, but others aren’t. The ATF Fire Research Laboratory where they conduct full scale combustion of houses is my favorite new discovery in this batch.
  • Circular Rail Gun. A new approach to launch satellites that removes the high g forces necessary in existing designs.
  • Lord of the Rings Origami. Yup, each of these figures was made from a single sheet of paper (thanks Kurt)

Useful:

  • Google Map of Seattle Red Light Cameras.
  • Audiworld Forums. My Audi A4 was recently totaled (their fault, everyone ok), and I replaced it with a used B5 S4. The content in this forum is incredible - just about every common problem is diagnosed along with detailed steps to remedy the problem. I’ve already repaired two speakers and replaced my blinker control module based on content found here. It is only a short time before car repair wikis replace the Bentley/Chilton manuals that people use today.
  • Whistler Skiing Tips. Rich Tong has been penning a series of awesome consumer tips posts. This one provides a quick useful guide to Whistler vacation planning (and triggered my Edge card purchase).

Hilarious:

  • LOLCat Bible. “Oh hai. In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh skiez An da Urfs, but he did not eated dem.” Yes, its a project to rewrite the entire Bible in LOLcat (thanks Casey).

Interesting, Cool & Useful – Sep 07

Cool by on September 11, 2007 at 11:00 pm

Interesting:

  • First unmanned attack squadron. The Air Force has long resisted the idea that unmanned aircraft would become the dominant platform, but that looks like it is beginning to change.
  • Proximity is a Hack. Tim Converse, formerly of Yahoo Search and now at Powerset, offers a great writeup about the limits of keyword proximity in determining relevance.
  • Cure for fear. MIT biochemists have identified a molecular mechanism behind fear, and successfully cured it in mice.

Cool:

Useful:

  • Time to First Byte Measurement Tool (from Casey). While we’ve been working on JB’s page performance, this simple Firefox add-on is great for taking simple ad-hoc measurements of the time that web pages take to deliver the first byte.
  • Reduce Firefox memory leakage. Firefox invariably ends up using 300MB of RAM after a solid day’s usage. This page has a list of problematic extensions that should theoretically improve memory management, although none have solved my issues.
  • Excel 07 (I’m not sure where I link). I’ve been using Excel 2007 for a few months now. While I found the new menu system a bit awkward at first, it is actually significantly faster once you learn it. However, the largest improvement was definitely the 1M+ row count - a simple, but hugely beneficial change.

Poker – Man vs. Machine

Cool by on July 22, 2007 at 9:25 pm

There have been a few interesting articles about the upcoming poker contest that pits a computer against two professional players - Phil Laak and Ali Eslami.

The most interesting part of the tournament is the clever structuring of the game to eliminate chance:

Laak will play with a partner, fellow pro Ali Eslami. The two will be in separate rooms, and their games will be mirror images of one another, with Eslami getting the cards that the computer received in its hands against Laak, and vice versa. That way, a lousy hand for one human player will result in a correspondingly strong hand for his partner in the other room. At the end of the tournament the chips of both humans will be added together and compared to the computer’s.

Unlike chess or checkers, the challenge rests largely in software/algorithm design not additional computations.

This makes the problem far more interesting. Laak played in a similar contest two years ago and ultimately won after determining the primary strategy used by the program and then adapting his play.

Interesting, Cool & Useful – Jul 07

Cool by on July 12, 2007 at 9:44 pm

Interesting:

  • Nurture 1, Nature 0 - In the nature vs. nuture debate, a study of 24,000 Norwegian siblings showed firstborns are more likely to have higher IQs.
  • Rubber Ducks - I’m sure you heard of them at some point: 29,000 yellow rubber ducks were spilled into the ocean in 1992. They have since traveled the high seas, visiting Hawaii, Australia and have even traversed a section of the arctic frozen in ice, teaching scientists about ocean currents. They are now expected to end their journey on the coast of England.
  • Sophisticated hack of Greek cell-phone system. From sa, a detailed, interesting article about a multi-year hack of Vodaphone’s greek cellphone infrastructure. What state-run hacking might look like.

Cool:

Useful:

Hilarious:

Interesting, Cool & Useful – June 07

Cool by on June 19, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Interesting:

Cool:

  • Google Solar Panel Output. I love that Google placed solar panels on its roof. I love even more that they put real-time power output on a webpage.
  • Personalized Action Figures. The perfect gag gift (although pricey at $400). Thanks Jeff.
  • Steampunk keyboard. I’m becoming increasingly fascinated by the incredible things built by steampunk artists/engineers. This keyboard is a pretty cool mod.

Useful:

Hilarious:

Interesting, Cool & Useful – May 07

Cool by on May 20, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Interesting:

  • Making organ donation opt-out (or mandatory). A policy that makes complete sense to me, this Wired article digs into a recent proposal (journal article, not a law) that suggests the US change its organ donation policy from opt-in to opt-out. Painfully short on actual stats, the article suggests organ shortages could become a thing of the past in some high-need categories.
  • Probability-based spelling corrector in 21 lines of Python code By Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google. When you put raw intelligence against domain knowledge you get a thing of beauty.
  • Blogs by Feed subscribers. Not a complete list, but an interesting post nonetheless.
  • Cars drive closer to bikers with helmets. If you aren’t wearing a helmet, cars give you an extra 3.4 inches when they pass. If you look like a women, cars give you an additional 2.2 inches. It is still way safer to wear helmets, but I’m fascinated about how our perceptions subconsciously affect our behavior in quantitative ways.

Cool:

  • Waves in water in space. There are few things as cool as fluids in a gravity-free environment - now I just need to figure how to create that affect at home…
  • Extreme Origami. Nearly all of these creations are made from uncut square pieces of paper.
  • Giant crystals. Reminds me of Superman’s cave.

Useful:

  • Inkjet ink reviewed. The expensive ink sold by your printer manufacturer isn’t the best…
  • All about WordPress titles. I realized my category pages didn’t have titles and decided to figure out how to add them. This post was a great resource.
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